"an important story and absorbing as a well-crafted thriller."

The Financial Times

Leaving Reality Behind

A Book By

Adam Wishart and Regula Bochsler


Truth, Justice and the Speedy Delivery of Toys

In November 1999, at the height of the e-commerce gold rush, a hearing in a Los Angeles courtroom wrenched open the fault lines that ran through the Internet. On one side, eToys.com the billion-dollar darling of Wall Street, the brain-child of Toby Lenk, one of the hottest entrepreneurs of his generation. On the other side, etoy.com, a group of bleeding edge European artists, hungry for fame, who used the internet as their canvas. The struggle between them became known as the Toywar.

It sharply focused attention on the conflict at the very heart of the internet: was it for the joy of the many or the exponential profit of the few? Was cyberspace a revolutionary commerce-free public space, or was the new frontier an extension of the shopping mall?

Through the gripping narrative of the battle Adam Wishart and Regula Bochsler weave the history of seven years that changed the world forever: the conflict at the birth of the web; the invention of search engines; the battles over domain names and the discovery of the glittering promise of online retailing when the capital markets left reality behind.

As the real-life thriller of the Toywar came to its climax, the online world went into meltdown. After the crash in 2000 what would be more valuable and enduring; an eight billion dollar corporation built by America's brightest businessmen or a chaotic art project created by a group of award-winning European rebels?

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